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Evansville, Indiana
March 17, 1989     The Message
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March 17, 1989

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March 17, 1989 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 7 Catholic school tradition Walking back in history to rediscover origin of our pric,,J,ess heritage cb aLO TRADITION CAT.IC SCS  SOUTESrERN By FR. RAYMOND L. KUPER Director of Catholic Education Sister Mary Sa]esia Godecker, O.S.B., published a small book entitled, "History of Catholic Education in Indiana, "in 1925. Historical material in the following article is derived from Sister Godecker's research. On April 27 all the students of the Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Evansville will assemble at Roberts Stadium to celebrate the Catholic School Tradition. It is then most oppor- tune to walk back in history to rediscover the origin of the wonderfully unique traditon that today is still being passed on as a priceless heritage in the Catholic Schools of the Diocese. The story of Catholic Schools in southwestern Indiana begins a long, long time ago -- a time even before there was a state of Indiana, a time before there was even a United States of America. When early colonists looked west of the Allegheny Moun- tains all that they could see was one gigantic forest that stretch- ed to the horizon and beyond. In fact it would be a long time until the very vastness of the Midwest would be realized. The first explorers of the Midwest were missionary priests from New France (Canada). It was these early missionaries who discovered the river passage that would lead them to Louisiana and New Orleans. The river passage consisted of the Maumee, Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi rivers. French fur trappers followed the missionary ex- plorers, and gradually, settlers DONUT BANK "_Q.....y Co..... " 4 Convenient Locations 16 DAYS BEST OF BRITISH ISLES Sponsored by THE MESSAGE with Fr. Joseph Ziliak London, Chester, Oxford, Coventry, York, Stratford, Dublin, Killarney, Waterf0rd, Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry, Edinburgh, Lake District Our legal heritage comes from English law. Our literary heritage comes from British, Scottish, Welsh and Irish writers. Our language finds its roots in those of our forebears from the British Isles. So, why not a visit to the lands of our heritage? London, Chester, Oxford, Coventry, York, Stratford, Dublin, Killarney, Waterford, Blarney Cas- tle, Ring of Kerry, Edinburgh and the Lake District are but some of the fascinating places we'll see this summer. We are planning on an overnight in a castle, as well as visits to such places as Stonehenge, Hyde Park, the Ring of Kerry, and the moors of Scotland. The British Isles are like one big park. The weather will be on its best behavior for us iq, late July. It will be comfortably warm, but not hot. Names, people and places that are so marked in us from earliest studies will suddenly come to life as we, too, visit the places where they worked and lived. Come along. Join us for a delightful trip to the British Isles. JULY 19 to AUGUST 3, 1989 $2579 from Evansville CLIP AND MAIL TODAY! I would like to know more about your 16 DAYS BEST OF BRITISH ISLES tour. Please send me additional information. Name THE MESSAGE P.O. Box 4169 EvansviUe, IN 47724-0169 Address City Telephone StateZip followed the routes of the trap- pers. Small settlements slowly began to appear as clearings in the almost overwhelming forest. One of the earliest outposts was Vincennes, where, in 1702, Father LeVeigne from Canada said the first Mass. In those days the Midwest was under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Quebec, Canada. From this early period there is little documentation that would give us details about life in Post Vincennes. What is certain is that missionaries were sent to meet the religious needs of these very early settlers. Sometimes these priests merely passed through; others stayed a while and then moved on. At times there were lapses of several years between mis- sionaries. In the annual reports that Jesuits were to give to their superiors, they write of Chris- tianizing the Indians and in- structing the children of set- tiers. We have no idea whether this "instuction" was clone in a formal school-like setting or more informally. In 1760 at the close of the French and Indian War, the Midwest was under British con- trol. In 1778 George Rogers Clark, with the aid of Father Pierre Gibault, convinced the settlers to pledge their loyalty to Virginia and ultimately to the newly formed United States of America. Father Pierre Gibault, who was resident pastor at Post Vincennes from 1785 to 1789, wrote to the Bishop of Quebec in a letter dated 1786, that he not only taught Christian doc- trine to the children, but that he also taught them to read and write. However, in 1789, Father Gibault was recalled and Vincennes was once again without a pastor for three years. These were tumultuous times as momentous events took place accompanying the birth of a new nation. During the French and Indian War of 1760 the British had subdued the French and had taken control of the Midwest. In 1776 the English colonies declared the_ independence from England and fought the war that would establish these colonies as a na- tion. The Midwest, originally French, nominally British, was won over by the Goerge Rogers Clark expedition. During the war of in- dependence, a nation of sovereign states was organized under the Articles of Confedera- tion. The last official act under these Articles was the adoption of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. This ordinance set out the principles for the future settle- ment and development of the entire Northwest Territory, a process that would eventually lead to statehood. Eventually the five states of Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and Wiscon- sin, and part of Minnesota were carved from the old Northwest Territory. Another interesting article of this ordinance was that every sixth township was to be devoted to schools -- certainly an early indication of the im- portance that was attached to education for the citizens of the new republic. Vincennes came under the jurisdiction of the first American Bishop, John Carroll of the newly erected Diocese of Baltimore. After pleas from the Catholics of the interior, the bishop responded by sending another priest to Vincennes. On Dec. 21, 1792, Father Benedict Joseph Flaget accom- panied by Col. Clark, arrived at the Post of Vincennes. One of the pastor's first official acts was to re-open the school that had been closed for three years. QUALITY CARPET ROLLS N STOCK, :00_Ji.l00'ffl00 Y ... .... .....:', ,/, l INVENTOR Y REDUCTION! Guaranteed Lowest Prices CONGOLEUM HIGHLIGHT (in stock rolls)... $7 95 sq. yd. CUSHION FLOOR ......... $4 95 sq. yd. BRIGHT LIFE ............. $3 95 sq. yd. Father Flaget saw the necessity of instilling into the minds of his people the habits of in- dustry. Hence his idea was that the pupils, while being taught the principles of catechism and the skills of reading, writing, mathematics, should likewise be trained in agriculture, domestic arts and various trades. For these purposes he established a free industrial school. Father Flaget personal- ly taught this school. In 1795 Father Flaget was recalled to Baltimore and replaced in 1796 b'y Father Jean Francois Rivet. In the church records at St. Francis Xavier, Vincennes, he styles himself, "Missionary appointed for the savages, exorcizing his ministry for the moment in the Parish of St. Francis Xavier." Father Rivet had been a pro- fessor in France, and was very devoted to this avocation. His educational leadership qualities were recognized by the president of the United States. George Washington ap- pointed Father Rivet to serve as superintendent of schools for the entire Northwest Territory. For this work he was paid an annual salary of $200. Father Rivet died in 1804. Vincennes was again left to the care of itinerant missionaries whose visits were generally periodic and correspondingly brief. This obviously had an ef- fect on the proper functioning of the school, but there is very little information about the school in the years 1804 to 1823. It was during this time, in 1816, that Indiana ecame the 19th state to enter the union. The only certain truth about the Catholic education at Vincennes is that the children were instructed by each visiting priest during the time he resid- ed at the mission. Next week, Part Ih Catholic education in the Diocese of Vincennes. I THE I ] UNIONBANK  I AFULLSERVlCEBANK I I 295-2624 I I HWY00O LOOGOOTEE, INDIANA I # 1, 26 go. colored steal discontinued--S39.95 sq. CHEAP SECONDS AVAILABLE TRUSSES LESS 10% 30x40x9 POST FRAME BLD. PACKAGE--S2895.00 Call for low rates on erecting and other bid. sizes. "WIN" Up to $5,000 cash back on your March bldg. or material purchase at our April 1st Appreciation Day. Plus drawing for a free garage door and operator. "ASK FOR ENTRY RULES AT OFFICE" D.C. METAL SALES, Inc. Cannelburg, Ind. Ph. 812/295-4299